VIERA, Fla. - Right-hander Edwin Jackson obviously wasn’t thrilled with his four-inning, four-run, seven-hit, three-walk outing today, but he’s not going to get too hung up on the numbers.
“Results weren’t really the greatest, but I felt pretty good,” Jackson said in the Nats’ clubhouse a bit ago. “The only thing I come away from (this) working on is just the walks. Everything else I can accept. They had hits, a lot of them on the ground. They had a few hits in the air, but I’ll take my groundball hits, I’ll take my chances of keeping the ball on the ground.
“You just have to make them put the ball in play. Couple of (the walks) could’ve been close pitches, but regardless, walks are walks. Get them out of the way now. It’s spring training, can’t really go and kill yourself on results right now. Going out and working on things, and that’s what spring training’s for - to get prepared for the season.”
One positive Jackson takes out of his start is that even though he threw 71 pitches, he still felt strong enough after four innings to go another frame. Manager Davey Johnson wanted to get other pitchers work, however, so instead of going out for the fifth, Jackson went to the bullpen to throw 10 additional pitches.
“As a matter of fact, I probably felt the strongest my last couple hitters,” Jackson said. “Right now, that’s what we’re working on - stamina. I felt pretty strong when I came out of the game. I felt I could’ve gone out for another inning and still feel strong.”
Jackson said he was working on getting into a rhythm while on the mound today and finding a tempo, something which he struggled with last time out. He still found himself rushing a little bit today, but feels like he’s making good progress as spring progresses.
“I feel every start closer and closer to where I want to be,” he said. “I’m getting stronger and stronger every start. The stamina’s building up.”
While Jackson was getting his work in during a Grapefruit League game, lefty Ross Detwiler was getting his work in during a minor league game on a side field at the Nats’ complex.
Detwiler threw between 60-65 pitches, and said he felt good.
“I was just really focused on getting ahead in counts, just trying to keep my pitch count down every inning,” he said. “I think I accomplished that pretty well.
“My sinker was good today. I was able to throw the sinker away but also get in and keep them off the sinker. Threw a couple good changeups, one got hit pretty hard that I left up. Curve ball was decent. Overall, it was good.”
The lefty admitted that throwing on the minor league side is an adjustment from pitching at Space Coast Stadium, where he would normally get his work in this time of year.
“There’s definitely a difference,” he said. “There’s no fans, there’s no stadium around. It’s just a different atmosphere, but when it comes down to it, it is pitching. You’ve got to get ahead, you’ve got to stay ahead and make them hit your pitch.”
Update: The Nationals lost to the Tigers 11-7. Back from the clubhouse in a bit.